Edwardian Mia: A Paper Doll Evening Gown


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A pale blue and yellow Edwardian paper doll dress. Also available in black and white for coloring. Free to print from paperthinpersonas.com.

Somehow, it just seems fitting to wrap the week with a ballgown. I mean, everyone needs at least one ballgown. I struggled with finding an Edwardian era ballgown that I liked. Most of the ones I saw were just too lacy for my taste. Eventually, I came across one from the book Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from “La Mode Illustrée” published by Dover. As much as I love the internet, I do really like having a few good costume plate books around for reference, because they often give contextual information which is helpful. This particular ballgown was recommended for young matrons, which I assume means ladies who were just married.

I’ll confess right now that I don’t always get Victorian categorizations of age and/or class.

What I do know is that ballgowns were, short of court dress, the most formal gowns a woman would ever own. In fact, many women would wear their wedding gown after their wedding as a ballgown for the coming year. Can I just say that it makes WAY more sense to me to buy a gown you’re then going to wear to balls than to pay like 5,000 dollars for a dress you wear once?

That just seems insane.

And yes, these comments might come out of my odd fascination with “Say Yes to the Dress.”

Anyhow, back to paper dolls… Here’s the whole of this week’s set if you missed any of the pieces.

An Edwardian Paper Doll Wardrobe For Mia

So, in this new format, we have so far had five weeks of paper dolls ranging from Monica’s Neo-Victorian week to last week’s mermaids. I’ve been wondering what people might most like to see next. I have several sets “in progress” and I’m out of backlog (eep!), so this weekend I’ll be working on one of these sets. No promises I’ll get it done in time for Monday, but I am super curious what people might like to see next. 🙂

What should Rachel Work on this Weekend?

  • Marisole Monday & Friends Fantasy Gowns (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Sprites in Wonderland (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Little Red Ridinghood inspired Mini-Maidens (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Marcus as a Wizard (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Ms. Mannequinn Hip-Hop Fashions (8%, 7 Votes)
  • B&B Medieval Inspired Fantasy Gowns (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Post-Apocalyptic B&B (4%, 4 Votes)
  • B&B Steampunk Outfits (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 93

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Note: I was a little surprised that “Mini-Maiden Little Red Riding Hood option” won by such a landslide, so I checked the voting logs. Seventeen votes came from the same IP address within the same time frame for that choice. Clearly, someone too the “vote early, vote often” mandate to heart, but since I noticed it, I have removed those votes from the system.

Isadora Goes to Prom: Part 3


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Two short prom dresses for the Mini-Maidens paper dolls. Print and color from paperthinpersonas.com

Two paper doll dresses today for the prom going paper dolls. (Here’s Isadora whose got the hair-do for these dresses)

So, in my prom dress research, I learned that short prom dresses are in right now. I’ll confess, I don’t like short dresses. I am a maxi lenght girl, but I’m also pretty tall. I have been told by my height challenged friends that short dresses are nice when you’re not tall.

(I have no clue what it feels like to not be tall, but I trust my non-tall friends to know things about being short that I will never know.)

Anyhow, the prom trend for short dresses seems like a nice option for people who don’t like long dresses. The paper doll dress on the right is a more sophisticated cocktail sort of option. Very modern with that obi-sash detail. The paper doll dress on the left is actually a take on a dress I drew years ago for this Marisole Monday Prom Paper Doll set back in 2010.

So, my question is, who was into short dresses for their prom? I wasn’t, but I suspect I have readers who went the short dress route.

So, tell me in a comment. I’m quite curious.

Also, if you want support the blog, I have a Patreon page.

Isadora Goes to Prom: The Sequel


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A prom dress for a paper doll with a wrap bodice and some beading detail. This dress fits any of the MIni-Maiden paper dolls and it's free from paperthinpersonas.com.

If there is one thing I noticed while looking at way more prom dresses than any person not planning to go to prom should have to look at, it was the amount of beading detail on these gowns. Every gown it seemed like had some sorta beading or sequin detail.

Made me feel weird for not really liking sequins that much.

I wondered if maybe I liked sequins when I was sixteen, but I don’t think I did. In fact, I can’t remember ever being like, “Yay! Sequins.”

However, I am not the average prom-goer, so on the right side of the bodice of this paper doll prom dress there’s a little beading detail, just to keep things interesting. You might have to look closer to really get to see it.

Otherwise, this is a pretty basic long gown with a wrap bodice. I confess I don’t have much more to say about it.

I’ve drawn similar gowns before, I know. There’s one here, one here and one here. Clearly, it’s a style I like, but I also notice that it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Do you need a doll to wear this stylish dress? Here’s Isadora ready for Prom!

As always, I love to hear comments or, if you’d like to support the blog further than become a patron.

Isadora Goes to Prom


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A prom paper doll set including a doll and a prom dress in black and white for coloring.

All right, for those of you who missed Friday’s post, here’s the new plan for the blog:

Every Monday (which is today), I’ll post a doll and an outfit or accessories.  Each day for the rest of the week, I’ll post another outfit to fit that doll. Most of the time, each week will represent a theme like 1860s children’s clothing, steampunk attire or, as this week, prom night!

(Regrets and bad decisions on Prom night will not be illustrated in paper doll form. You’ll have to add your own.)

On Friday, a gallery post of all the paper doll pieces and links to every post will go up, so if you missed one you can pick it up then, plus that day’s outfit.

Than, I’ll do it all over again.

All righty, so this week’s theme is formals or proms or possibly red carpet, but I confess I was thinking prom when I designed this set of gowns. Our model is Isadora, one of the Mini-Maidens. Not for any reason, except she’s got fewer sets than all the other Mini-Maidens. I felt bad for her. What can I say?

Her first dress is a floor length number with a boned bodice. She has strappy high heeled shoes and her hair is up in a formal undo. I once had my hair styled like that for a winter formal in high school. It looked pretty wonderful, but it made me almost taller than my date who was 6’2”.

Anyway, it gave me a life long love of curly undos.

Lastly, if you like PTP and want it to stick around than consider becoming a patron.

Evening Gowns & Cocktail Dresses: Paper Doll Clothes

logo-formal-gowns-msman In doing my research for this set of evening gowns I went to a few bridal websites and pinned to my Pinterest boards wedding dresses I liked and bridesmaid’s dresses that I liked.

Now Pinterest thinks I am getting married and keeps suggesting pins to be about wedding planning, budgeting and seating arrangements. There needs to be a “Nope, not interested” button on Pinterest. Since I am not getting married, I just like to look a pretty dresses.

Speaking of pretty dresses, today we have two evening gowns and two cocktail dresses. I’ve never done evening gowns for the Ms. Mannequin dolls before. I actually hadn’t realized that until I prepped and posted these.

I wanted to do a range of styles in one sheet. There are gloves, because I think gloves are always elegant- even if I never wear them. There are two cocktail length dresses and then two full length dresses. I suppose these could be for prom or something, but I always think of the Ms. Mannequin dolls as being older. Maybe a red carpet event? Or a formal wedding in the evening?

Paper doll gowns in four styles for the Ms. Mannequin series in black and white for coloring. Print from paperthinpersonas.com Paper doll gowns in four styles for the Ms. Mannequin series in color. Print from paperthinpersonas.com

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As I write all this stuff about weddings, it occurs to me I haven’t really done a wedding paper doll set. That’s odd considering there is a long history of weddings as a paper doll theme. Maybe my inability to draw men has stifled my wedding plans. Of course, it could also be that I am scared of drawing lace. Lace is a wedding dress sorta thing. I mean Greta has a wedding dress in her Steampunk Trousseau, but none of the other paper dolls have wedding gowns.

Plus, I was never one of those kids who “dreamed” of my wedding day. I do remember playing with a golden book Bride and Groom paper doll. Mostly, what I recall is thinking the Maid of Honor was prettier than the bride. I think she usually ended up running off with the Groom. 🙂

So, weddings. Worth doing? Best ignoring? What do y’all think?

Last, but not least, I’d like to give huge thank you to everyone who is supporting me on Patreon. If you’d like to join the Vivian Project, here’s the Patreon page and here’s some info about the Vivian Project.

And if Patreon isn’t your thing, no worries. I’ll also be doing a Princess Club next year, starting January 2016, where you can subscribe and receive a princess paper doll. So, that’s another way to support PTP.

Or just tell a friend about PTP. That’s also a great way to support the blog (and it’s free).

Frocks and Gowns in Color

logo-frocks-gowns-colorSo, this is going up a little late today. Sorry about that, but life got crazy this weekend. I want to talk a little bit today about coloring last week’s paper doll and a little about diversity in the paper doll world.

So, when I color a paper doll set, I start with a pallette. I knew I was going to be giving Monica a fairly rich brown skin tone, so that opened up and closed down certain color options. For example, I tend to avoid putting brown colored clothing on brown colored paper dolls, unless the tones are really different, since it can blend too easily. Since she was going to have a rich skin-tone, I decided that bright and color dresses made a lot of sense.

The strapless gown with the belt was based on this gown by Andrew GN and since it had a red top and a pink bottom, that informed the blues and the greens as contrasting colors in the other gowns.

frocks-gowns-black-paper-doll
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I’m a big believer in paper doll diversity. I think it is really important to have a variety of concepts and skin-tones and, ideally, a variety of concepts in a variety of skin-tones. Truthfully, I tend not to think of my paper dolls in terms of ethnicity, but in terms of color. It it less about, “this paper doll is African-American” and more about “this paper doll is a dark brown with red undertones.”

I used to think I was the only one who thought this way about paper doll skin-tones until I read this post from Julie over at Paper Doll School. I was comforted to find out that we both tend to think in terms of “color” not in terms of ethnicity.

The result of coloring things, perhaps?

What I do know is that no matter how I think about skin-tone, it is crucial to me that I offer readers of all backgrounds and colors paper dolls that reflect them. People should be able to see themselves in the toys they play with.

Yes, I know a lot of my readers are adults, but adults play with toys, too. At least, they should. 🙂 I do.

Frocks and Gowns in Black and White: A Paper Doll

logo-frocks-gowns-bwThis is the first Monica paper doll of 2015! I think she looks stunning with this collection of fancy dresses, both cocktail and more formal. I wanted to try the spiky hairstyle that I used for my post-apocolyptic paper doll again.

I find with paper dolls that I tend to do a formal gown set every year or so. In 2014, I did this set of vintage evening gowns and a set for Mia in 2012.

As a kid, I liked drawing evening gowns and I like to think my paper dolls lead the sort of high style lives where they would need fancy dresses. Plus, we are coming into Prom season, so it seems fitting to draw some prom worthy dresses.

Though, I must say, the older I get the less I find prom dresses to be anything other than gaudy. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare. I did a prom paper doll set back in 2010 based on the dresses I saw for sale in that year.

Monica’s evening and cocktail dresses are all based on real gowns except for the one on the far right with the flower. I totally made that up.

frocks-gowns-black-paper-doll-bw
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Interesting PTP fact: The first paper doll set ever in the Marisole Monday series was Glamor Girl with formal gowns. That was way back in 2010.

My few of my other formal gown paper doll sets have been At the Big Gala, Red Carpet Elegance, and Flowers and Jewels.

As always, enjoy the paper doll and feel free to tell me what you think about her.

Amaryllis, a Paper Doll in Evening Gowns

logo-amaryllis-paper-dollI don’t really do balance that well. I tend to work in the grip of obsession and then realize I’ve just spent five hours looking through images of medieval manuscripts in the hope that one of them might show a 10th century women’s neckline which, of course, none of them did. (By the way, you can read all about my adventures in the 10th century here and see the paper doll result.)

So, when I want to draw and I don’t want to get wrapped up in fretting about whether or not my choice of red is the right shade for Turkey red of the 1800s, I often turn to contemporary fashion magazines, as I know I have mentioned before. I find these paper dolls are fun, because in many ways they are easier than fantasy or historical dolls. I can just draw what I see, which is simpler for me than trying to draw from my minds-eye or from actual historical garments.

amaryllis-paper-doll-color

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Amaryllis’ evening gowns are based on actual evening gowns of the “real world”. I wanted to use a spring color scheme that wouldn’t be to heavy and dark. I feel like Clarissa, my last Pixie, had an awfully dark color scheme for a summer paper doll post. I wanted to make Amaryllis’ shoes neutral enough that she could wear them with other outfits in case she wanted to borrow some evening gowns from another paper doll or felt like rocking some jeans. 🙂

One last thing, the latest drawing is still open. Consider entering if you like. 🙂

Some Sets in Black and White…

So… I often get asked for more black and white versions to color of Marisole Monday paper dolls. Oddly, I have almost never been asked for black and white versions of other paper dolls, but that’s neither here nor there.

ancient-chic-black-white

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This was specifically requested a while ago, so I wanted to make sure to do Ancient Chic and one of the sets.


big-gala-black-white

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I forgot that I hadn’t done this in black and white. I would have sworn I had… but as it turned out, I was wrong. It’s odd to me to think this paper doll set in color was posted nearly two years ago. Wow… That was a while ago. I’m still not pleased with how the floral skirt turned out, but sometimes you just can’t win.


walk-in-the-woods-black-white

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Walk in the Woods in color was a set which I wanted to do some more casual wear and as I recall someone had asked for East Indian coloring, so that was my attempt at that. In hind sight, I rather like the accessories with this set like the apple, water bottle and backpack.

So, here they are. A few sets in black and white to be colored. Enjoy them everyone.

Marisole Vintage Evening Gowns In Colors…

marisole-vintage-logo-colorLast week, I posted this paper doll set in black and white for coloring. I promised I would talk a little about each of the gowns and where they came from.

I need to learn to streamline my method for dealing with elaborate florals, or I need to never do one ever again. Normally coloring a paper doll set takes about 2 to 4 hours, at most. Sometimes longer, but only if I take a lot of breaks and am doing a lot of other stuff. If I have my colors picked out and I’m on a roll, I can do the set in about an hour when I’m really on the ball, though formatting, saving and other detail work takes longer. That single floral dress took me nearly an hour, by itself, to color. NEVER AGAIN.

(I say that and I’m already thinking of other cool florals I might draw… I have a problem, people.)

Okay, so here’s the paper doll in full color:


marisole-vintage-gowns-color

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Let’s talk about where each gown came from. The floral gown, the blue gown and the red gown are all from the V&A in London.

The blue gown is based on this red dress from 1957. The red evening dress was drawn from this evening gown by Hardy Amies was made right after fabric rationing was lifted in England (1949), so lacks the layers of lace and silk that were common in evening gowns on this period. I love the simplicity and shape of the dress. The last dress from the V&A is my favorite, the floral evening gown made in Paris and worn by the wife of the British Ambassador. I tried, but I don’t think I captured the beauty of the rose patterned skirt and layered bodice.

The last pink dress comes from The Met, known as “Tree” this gown was designed by Charles James. Of all of the gowns I drew, I feel like this one didn’t work. My style of flat color just can’t capture the layering of the gowns beautiful fabric. Liana did a beautiful version of Charles james Butterfly dress on her blog several years ago which I think captures his work better than I did here.

Okay, that’s everything. Happy MLK Day to those in the US who are celebrating like me.